Girls Varsity Volleyball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Eagles could not catch up to North Stafford on Monday night @ The Forge but the 3-1 loss to the Wolverines was far more competitive than the score indicates. The Wolverines were the odds on favorite to capture the district crown this season, but what nobody expected was that it would be Forge who would give North the biggest tests on the year.
The Eagles have struggled through the last two campaigns after former bench boss Keith Mesa headed to a new challenge at Colgan High School in 2015. Mesa was in attendance on Monday to relive simply the best in game atmosphere (an atmosphere that he authored) anywhere and watch the two best teams in the Commonwealth District.
Was another loss to the Wolverines disappointing? Sure, but the players proved they could play with them; they just are not as talented as North. What they also know is they showed the heart of a lion, gave North all they could handle. The growth of this team under new coach Courtney Guengerich from the meaningless pre-season tournament to Monday night was more than evident. The Forge record stands now at 18-3, and the only other team that has beaten the Eagles is the Bobcats of Battlefield. That incredible turnaround should be appreciated.
The Forge was looking forward to this game on their home floor, but the worst thing that could possibly happen against a good team, came true early. The Eagles have had issues this season with starting slow and it really came back to bite them in this one. North scored eleven of the first dozen points in this one and controlled most of the early first set. It was not until the “good gals” cut the deficit to two (19-17) that they finally showed some life. Forge actually tied the match at 20-20 late before the Wolverines went on a 5-2 run to take the set 25-22.
In the second set, the Eagles did control throughout and after they took their first lead of the night at 3-1 in the second, they never gave up the lead. Forge was leading 8-4 when Senior Emma Lazerson went BACK-TO-BACK-TO BACK with Lazerson Lazers to give the “good gals” an 11-4 lead, North had to call a timeout to stop the bleeding.
North made a run of their own but the Eagles held them at bay and with the Forge leading 18-11 the Eagles were the beneficiary of a missed call by the officials. The Wolverines appeared to cut the Forge lead to six when they buried a shot near the baseline. Both officials looked at each other crying for help on the call and when they could not come up with one, they played the point over. The ensuing play, the mix-up was mute as North knocked it 2 feet clear of the end line and the Eagles extended the lead to 19-11. After a kill from Norths Victoria Barrett, she followed up the power with two dink shots that fell harmlessly for points but the Forge led 20-14. The prettiest play of the set was a kill over the right shoulder by Paityn Walker when her shot landed smartly in the open side behind the sophomore. The Wolverines had no response for that play and two Simone Newell kills and the Eagles tied the match at a set apiece 25-21.
The third set had the Eagles coming out strong with strong net presence and two consecutive blocks early. North would respond to tie up the set at 7-7 but the Eagles would bounce back with an ace of a Walker serve and a Kailey Schoolfield kill to put the Forge on top 9-8. Forge went on a mini run midway through the set and grabbed an 18-14 advantage but after a Wolverine timeout, the Eagles came out of the break treating the volleyball like a UFO and allowed North to gain control of the match late, winning 22-25 to take control at 2-1.
The home team again controlled the early set, but a block by the Wolverine Gabrielle Ferguson allowed North to tie the set at 10-10. Again, the “good gals” showed more signs of growth and resilience, as it turned into the Elyssia Smith Show as the talented senior had a kill and two consecutive blocks at the net to give the Eagles a 14-10 lead.
Forge was enjoying a 15-12 lead when another blown call hurt play and seemed to be the momentum shift that North was looking for. After the call, the Eagles were not the same the rest of the set. North tied the set at 17-17 and got two consecutive kills by Sydney Ferguson to put this one in the North win column.
The Eagles will close out the regular season with a home date against the Riverbend Bears on Thursday night. It will also be Senior Night as the Eagles will recognize their seven seniors and thank them for their contributions to Forge Volleyball. After the regular season, the Eagles will head to the Regionals. A game and even a series like the one they have had with North can only prepare this group for a run in the post season. Stay tuned to “America’s Best Web Site” forgeathletics.org for post-season match-ups and times.